December 29, 2018

Just in time for the holidays, Bastrop Federal Corrections Institution and it's Satellite Camp have made important changes to the mailing policy. Greeting cards, even hand made cards by 18-month-old granddaughters, are strictly prohibited. Mailing labels, including return address labels, are also prohibited. All correspondence has to be on white paper and white envelopes (seems racist to me, but who am I judge). It should also be fragrance free and without lipstick marks.

That means if you sent me a Christmas or Festivus Card, it went into a big trash can in the mail room. Our crack mail staff is supposed to return it, but I doubt they have the will, the desire, or the intelligence necessary to make that happen. To send a card, you'll need to create or purchase the card, make a copy of it (one side only) on white paper, and mail that in a white envelope without a mailing label, fragrance, or lipstick marks.

Now newspaper clippings and photographs are permitted, so I guess you could post,...

December 24, 2018

  • Be alert. The world needs more lerts.  (Source unknown)

  • Freddy continues to grow "in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man." I once heard that a puppy was too young for training until it was 12 weeks old. That's obviously wrong, because Freddy knew all his basic commands before that age, even though he's still 100% puppy. He's just short of 12 weeks in this picture taken in mid November. We are already excited about our Christmas picture. He's an amazing little boy, and he blesses my life in ways I can't begin to comprehend. I am so grateful to be his trainer and to be a small part of an organization like Canine Companions for Independence.

  • James Finley, a Clinical Psychologist at the Center For Action and Contemplation, writes, "Love protects us from nothing, even as it unexplainably sustains us in all things. Access to this love is not limited by finite ideas of what it is or what it should be. Rather, this love overwhelms our abilities to comprehend it, as i...

December 19, 2018

In a prior life, when living on Lake Brazos, friends were often invited over to enjoy the water. Some of the guests were more memorable than others. I remember one pre-schooler who was such a little jerk, his family never got another invitation. I was reminded of him when reading Jordan Peterson's best selling book, 12 Rules For Life. Rule #5 is "Don't Let Your Children Do Anything That Makes You Dislike Them." His premise is that if you let your children get away with doing things that annoy you, just think about what effect the little monsters will have on other people who care much less about them. Those folks will punish them, severely, by omission or commission. Don't allow that to happen.

Peterson's first principle for parents in the chapter is to limit the rules for children so as to keep it simple. He then gives some suggested rules. I can find no fault with any of them.

   * Do not bite, kick or hit, except in self-defense.

   * Do not torture and bully other children, so yo...

December 14, 2018

It's the holiday season and I wonder if Walton will always be foremost in my mind this time of year. I imagine and hope he will be. The irony of that is not lost on me because he didn't care much for holidays. He tolerated holiday family time as long as he could until he found an opening, however small, to escape to be with his friends. We cautioned that his leaving was his loss, but he didn't see it that way because he truly loved his friends. He had good friends who were there for him when he needed them, and was a good friend. All that has me thinking about friendship in tough times.

When the fabric of a life unravels like a cheap prison towel with the death of a child, parent, sibling, spouse, or when a marriage or career explodes, there is nowhere to hide. Grief, shame, emptiness, hurt are on full display, and many people whose lives are unaffected simply don't know how to respond. I know that because I've been there. While I knew what not to say, I often hesitated to reach out, wa...

December 9, 2018

I recently made yet a third road trip to the dermatologist in Bastrop for some taxpayer-funded skin care. Once again I was unfortunately traveling with an inmate from the low security prison next door who must have been a serial killer as it was necessary for us both to be shackled. Actually, the other inmate was rather meek, very polite, in his late 70s and could barely get into the van--not exactly Hannibal Lecter. If you've never been shacked, it's a surreal and somewhat painful experience. I cannot recommend it.

Accompanying us in the rolling cage that looked like a Ford van were three of the Bureau of Prison's finest, regaled in body armor and packing semi-automatic handguns. During the trip, I needed to scratch my nose, but couldn't reach it in the shackles, so I finally just relaxed and pretended to be asleep. This gave me the opportunity to "ear hustle" (prison term for eaves drop) on the officer's conversation about some of the arguments and fights they had started with people...

December 4, 2018

If the experience of being forced to come to Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp teaches anything, it should teach me that I need to pay much closer attention to what I do and say. Doing that in retrospect here has not always been enjoyable, in fact it has often been disconcerting. But it has been helpful. With it came the realization that for much of my life, I have bifurcated myself. There was one branch that observed, thought, felt, and judged.  Then there was a separate branch that spoke. The end result of this bifurcation was that some of what I spoke was simply not true. And I'm not talking about the lie when asked "Does this dress make my butt look big?"

Now of course I didn't just lie for no reason. I had motives for not telling the truth. Often it was to get what I wanted or to win--gaining status, impressing people, influencing events and opinions to meet my expectations, to accomplish what I thought should occur or to just get people to like me. I even lied to give people what I t...

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© 2016 by Charles D. Jones